We have reached the top 5 in our countdown of Outside the Huddle’s Top 50 boys basketball players. This is No. 1 in our annual preseason crowning of the top 5 players in northeast Indiana that we call the ‘First Five;’ our highest individual preseason honor.
The ‘First Five’ was started in 2018, following in the 35-plus year tradition of naming the top five area basketball players, started by a now defunct prep sports department in Fort Wayne. It is our honor to pick up and carry on that tradition with the ‘First Five,’ including our fourth group of honorees coming this season at the top of our Top 50 countdown.
No. 1 Fletcher Loyer, Homestead
When Loyer walked through the doors of Homestead last season, it was clear the Spartan dynasty would be taken to another gear. And it happened, as Loyer helped lead Homestead to a perfect record until their Regional round loss. Loyer was an Indiana Jr. All-Star and set the school’s single scoring record at 50 points along the way. Every single ounce of hype around Loyer following his move from Michigan was absolutely true. Few players we have seen in recent years can claim to handle pressure as well as Loyer does. He plays at a collected pace and really lets the game come to him. One of the best examples of that was his 27 point showing in an overtime win against then #1 Lawrence North. In that game, Loyer just took over and even though most people knew it was coming, they still couldn’t contain his skill and IQ.
Also now Homestead’s single season leader in made three pointers, Loyer has the smoothest of touches. Everything he shoots, he makes look so silky and simple even on the toughest shots. This summer, he shot 40 percent from three point range during the Peach Jam, just the toughest tournament on the summer docket. The way that Loyer can score looks effortless and he’s not just a shooter as he has the chops to make sharp cuts and the speed to keep defenders off his hip. Forget about this ‘score on three levels’ stuff, Loyer can score from absolutely anywhere on the floor that he wants to. Loyer is going to continue to be a high level creator that doesn’t really turn the ball over much. Mistakes are not a heavy part of his game, meanwhile he makes opposing defenses look silly with his high rate offense; Loyer has that dominate a game gene that not may can claim.
Last season for the Spartans, Loyer averaged 24.4 points per game. When Loyer set the school’s single season three-point record, it was by hitting 80 over the season and hitting six on three different occasions. Loyer also averaged 4.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
COACH’S QUOTE ON FLETCHER LOYER
“Fletcher is a mentally tough basketball player that understands the game. A pure shooter who also can create shots on his own. Purdue is getting a good one in Fletcher Loyer” – Homestead coach Chris Johnson
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